SIX NATIONS — Coming off back-to-back stinkers in Games #3 and #4, the four-time defending Founders Cup Champions, the Six Nations Jr. B Rebels, found their mojo at exactly the right time and convincingly took Game #5 and the Western Championship.
That will set the stage for an all Haudenodaunee Jr. B Championship final against the Akwesasne Indians to determine which of the these two finalists will represent the OLA in Calgary at this year’s Founders Cup Championships.
A large and loud contingent of fans who made the trip from Orangeville were on hand to cheer their boys on in addition to the Six Nations fans, who call themselves the Rebel Nation, only added to the excitement.
Danton Miller and Layne Smith put the Rebels ahead 2-0 and eight seconds before the end of the first period, Ty Logan made it a 3-0 game.
Trevor Smyth scored Orangeville’s only goal, shorthanded, at 4:13 of the second period. Chayton King, Garret Vyse-Square and Travis Longboat put the game away, 6-1 at the end of the second. There was no scoring in the third period as the Rebels concentrated on defense while Briley Miller continued to stymie Northmen shooters.
“We had our back against the wall and you can use all those cliché’s,” said coach Derek General after Monday’s win. “We knew they’d give us a fight. Their backs were up against the wall too, eh.”
General gave his opponents a lot of praise for taking it to Game #5.
“They have a very good defense and goalie, and he’s quick,” he said. “It came down in all those four games, that it was whoever got the bounce that night won it.”
Briley Miller was in the pocket all night and played a whale of a game.
“It was a good game all around,” he said. “Our defense played very well.”
But none of that matters now. The Rebels will not have long to get ready for Akwesaske, the Eastern Champs.
The Orangeville series was a roller coaster ride.
After a near perfect season and taking a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five Western finals, the Rebels suddenly hit a road block — themselves.
Team president, Scott Maracle, a man of few words at the best of times, was direct and simple with his assessment of his team’s sudden power outage in Game #3 as the Rebels boarded the bus to Orangeville for Game #4.
“Nobody showed up,” he said, but he had hopes not to have to come back for a final showdown in Game #5.
There was a Game #5, played Monday, necessitated by the Orangeville Northmen’s 8-4 win at the ILA July 31st and Sunday’s 9-6 Orangeville win in Orangeville.
It had been a low scoring, close checking series with the Rebels winning Game #1, 8-6, and Game #2, 6-5. But one has to credit the Northmen for turning the series around with renewed vigor and confidence.
Sometimes, when there is a team with so much success as the Rebels certainly are, they can begin to believe all they have to do is pull on the Rebels Jersey to win. Such, was the case in Games #3 and #4.
Meanwhile the Northmen, a team loaded with talent, saw and exploited one of the few weaknesses in the Rebels game. Penalties cost the Rebels, momentum, three Orangeville powerplay goals and eventually, the game. Had it not been for a natural hat-trick by Josh Miller in the third period the score would have been much more one sided.
The Northmen found an answer to the Rebels normally awesome offense as well, holding them to only four goals, in their own barn.
Sunday in Orangeville, Game #4 took on the same earmarks as Game #3 with Orangeville turning off the Rebels offence and building a wall around their own goal.
The Rebels took a 3-2 first period lead with goals scored by Kevin Owen Hill, a call up from the Six Nations minors, Josh Miller and Mitch Green. Travis Brown and Todd Gear scored for Orangeville.
By the end of the second, the Northmen held a 6-5 lead. Alex Henry and Owen-Hill scored for Six Nations.
Encouraged by the disconnected Rebels, the Northmen scored three more in the third. Ashton Jacobs scored the Rebels last goal of the game at 19:37 for the 9-6 final.